The golden rule of parkrun is …

fullsizerender-2… don’t forget your barcode. So what couldn’t I find this morning? Yup, my bleedin’ barcode!

After getting myself all psyched up to go, I went to get changed only to come back downstairs to see my laptop had decided to pick that particular moment to download and install lots of lovely Windows 10 updates.

I knew I had the barcode stored on it so it was only a matter of waiting for the thing to restart itself and I’d be able to print it off. Right?


This was mega-update time, it required several restarts, my blood type, inside leg measurements, resting heart rate, BMI, my neighbours pets names and so on (ok, I’m exaggerating a bit!) but it was taking ages.

I quickly realised there was no chance of it being done and me getting my barcode printed in time to get off to the Ecos Centre in time for the run.

Surely there must be some spares sitting in and around my desk somewhere? No worries, I thought, I’ll just grab one of them ……. except I couldn’t find one. I started to recall that the last lot had got wet so I’d binned them. After all, I could just download a new set from the site and print them when needed. Ha! Yes. Well. That worked, didn’t it?

But, I was dressed for running so why waste it? So out I went, I’ll do the parkrun 5k distance and sure won’t all be well with the world?

What a load of unadultered utter tripe. It was a bloody awful run. Right from the start. My legs just don’t want to play ball. Perhaps it was a combination of my sprints yesterday, then working in the garden followed by a few hours walking around Belfast in the evening.

I’d woken up exhausted and sore, so the signs were clearly there. I was just so tired. Realising quite quickly this wasn’t going well I had to make the decision to give up or plough on.

I ploughed on, so I suppose I have that to my credit – but that’s about the only plus point.

Did I win the mental battle? I don’t know. I certainly lost the physical battle but I didn’t give up. I might have been swearing at myself. I might have been telling myself all sorts, questioning why I’d ever decided to start this running lark in the first place. Or I could be questioning why I’ve decided to keep on at it.

I mean, I’ve done the London Marathon. Surely I can retire gracefully? No-one could ever criticise me for doing that. So why can’t I? What is it within me that keeps pushing on when I know I’m rubbish at it?

And what did I do when I came home? Instead of going to bed, feeling sorry for myself and vowing to give up I only went and paid my registration fee for the London Winter Run in February. Why? Why? Why?

That means organised events in October, February, March, April and May. Do I enjoy punishing myself like this? Maybe I’m looking for something. Some sort of purpose or point in me doing this?


Ballymena Runners 1.2

img_3937So being a good boy I decided to do my Ballymena Runners homework this morning – and just that, nothing more.

I know I should be going out for longer but I’m planning two runs this weekend so today was all about just keeping my legs ticking over.

I’ll be out this evening as well, walking quite a bit, so no point overdoing it.

I knew it was only going to be a short session so I decided to go for speed, to try to run as fast as I could during each of the running segments and to generally just push myself hard.

It seemed to work, I slashed another 12 seconds off my fastest opening kilometre this year, now down to 6:47.

Obviously I can’t sustain that at the minute but I’m guessing it’s a sign I’m getting stronger. Hopefully I’ll feel the benefit as my longer runs increase, that’s what all the advice says anyway.

All in all, a reasonable enough little run. Pushed myself, got a decent speed (for me!), worked up quite a sweat and loosened my legs up.

Ballymena Runners 1.1

2016-09-13Tonight was Week One, Day One of the Ballymena Runners Cosy Sofa to 5k programme for the Ballee area.

I don’t really know what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting over 50 people to turn up.

The carpark was bunged and they even had people directing traffic to park on the hard shoulder. Apparently this is the third such programme they’ve had this year in various different parts of the town and tonight has been the biggest night so far.

Clearly there’ll be drop outs as the weeks progress but hopefully numbers will be kept at a decent level which will be a big help and motivating factor.

I noticed a few faces I knew, including the bloke who I always try to beat (and I have) at parkrun so at least I knew I wouldn’t be the slowest.

A few people were chatting beforehand about having done something like this on their own before and I offered up my own experience, but I neglected to mention little things like having done the London Marathon and so on!

After a brief introductory talk, they split us into three different groups, randomly chosen, and off we went.

I found the pace very frustrating to begin with and got caught in traffic at the start but once I spotted a gap I upped the tempo, reverted to my normal speed and moved to the front of the group – and stayed there until the end, although I made sure to not get too far ahead of everyone else.

I know it wasn’t a race but I wanted to push myself a little bit and, to be honest, it felt good to be the first person back out of the three groups. That’ll obviously not always be the case but, to hell with it, small victories and all that.

I’ll do the plan again either tomorrow or Thursday, then make a decision about parkrun on Saturday morning which they encouraged everyone to do. I’m considering asking someone to pace me round the course to achieve a time I’d be happy with – but we’ll see about that.